UAE: Zayed award announces winners of $1-million prize

Two honourees are recognised for spreading hope and helping build a more compassionate world


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Tue 31 Jan 2023, 5:10 PM

Last updated: Tue 31 Jan 2023, 5:16 PM

The Community of Sant’Egidio and Kenyan peacebuilder Shamsa Abubakar Fadhil have been announced as honorees of the 2023 Zayed Award for Human Fraternity.

Now in its fourth edition, the award recognises the two honourees for their contributions to building a more compassionate world and setting an inspiring example of promoting peaceful coexistence.

The Community of Sant’Egidio is a humanitarian association based in Rome, Italy, with representative offices in 73 countries across Europe, Africa, the US, and Asia.

The association is being recognised for its contribution to successful peace negotiations and conflict resolution through religious diplomacy and intercultural dialogue — promoting peace in various places around the world, from Guatemala to Mozambique.

The organisation continues to assist refugees and support their integration into host societies through its ‘Humanitarian Corridors’ initiative, which also extends support to the most impoverished communities around the world.


A community mobiliser and peacebuilder in Kenya, Shamsa Abubakar Fadhil — known as ‘Mama Shamsa’ — is being recognised for nurturing the youth in Kenya. She has been saving young people from lives of violence, crime, and extremism, by providing them with counselling, care, and training.

Fadhil has led major campaigns in Kenya and greater Africa to draw awareness to violence against women, as well as women and youth empowerment.

“This year’s honourees are truly outstanding leaders that are dedicating their lives to address division, build resilient communities and cultivate compassion and hope,” said Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, secretary-general of Zayed Award for Human Fraternity and secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Elders.

“The Community of Sant’Egidio and Mama Shamsa have transformed the lives of vulnerable and marginalised peoples in societies around the world, including youth, refugees, and those living in conflict zones. We hope to amplify their efforts and inspire other institutions and individuals around the world to play an active role in promoting the values of human fraternity.”

The co-recipients will be honoured during an award ceremony on Saturday, the UN-recognised International Day of Human Fraternity, in Abu Dhabi.

The award, which includes a $1-million prize, is an annual independent international honour that recognises people and entities of all backgrounds, anywhere in the world, who are working selflessly and tirelessly across divides to advance the timeless values of solidarity, integrity, fairness, and optimism and create breakthroughs towards peaceful coexistence.


This year’s award was decided by an independent judging committee composed of international experts in promoting peace and human rights, including Abdelsalam; UN undersecretary-general and high representative for the Alliance of Civilisations Miguel Ángel Moratinos; former vice-president of Costa Rica Dr Epsy Campbell Barr; pro-prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelisation at the Holy See Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle; 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi; and 2015 Nobel Peace laureate and entrepreneur Dr Ouided Bouchamaoui.

The Zayed Award for Human Fraternity was launched in 2019 to mark the historic meeting in Abu Dhabi between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Professor Ahmed Al Tayeb, during which they co-signed the Document on Human Fraternity.

The award is named in honour of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founder of the UAE, renowned for his humanitarianism and dedication to helping people no matter their background.

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